~ Click on this link for today's readings ~
Deuteronomy 11:1-12:32 ~ Luke 8:22-39
Psalm 70:1-5 ~ Proverbs 12:4
Old Testament - Wow. I like Deuteronomy 11 a lot today... tons of powerful verses in this chapter. I love verse 22 - ""Be careful to obey all the commands I give you; show love to the LORD your God by walking in his ways and clinging to him." I really like that... show Love to God by walking in his ways - and clinging to him. I think I caught that term in our readings yesterday as well - "clinging." I know in our world today it's not too cool to be too clingy... :) But, I think God indeed wants us to be clingy when it comes Him! I pray that I cling to God each and every day... how about you? When it comes to God, are you clingy? Check out this amazing stained glass image of a woman clinging to the cross.... amazing. I love the imagery... Take a few moments to meditate on this one -
Verses 26 through 28 are amazing verses on the choice the Israelites could make back then - ""Today I am giving you the choice between a blessing and a curse! You will be blessed if you obey the commands of the LORD your God that I am giving you today. You will receive a curse if you reject the commands of the LORD your God and turn from his way by worshiping foreign gods." I believe this choice has morphed but still continues today through the New Covenant. We can choose to follow Jesus or we can choose to follow our own ways. One way is a blessing and one way is truly a curse. Like the Israelites, we still have the choice of a blessing or a curse.... Which road will we take?
New Testament - Today in Luke chapter 8 verses 29 through 31 we read some sobering verses – “For Jesus had commanded the evil spirit to come out of the man. Many times it had seized him, and though he was chained hand and foot and kept under guard, he had broken his chains and had been driven by the demon into solitary places. Jesus asked him, “What is your name?” “Legion,” he replied, because many demons had gone into him. And they begged him repeatedly not to order them to go into the Abyss.” Jesus then expels these demons from the man into a herd of pigs. Tyndale Publishers One Year Bible Companion has an interesting commentary on these verses that says Jesus did not simply destroy or send these demons into the Abyss, “because the time for such work had not yet come. But it will come. The book of Revelation records the future victory of Jesus over Satan, his demons, and all evil.” This is news for each of us to pay attention to! Satan, his demons and all evil are still out and about in our world today. And honestly… make no mistake… we each need to be very cognizant of the evil that will pursue our hearts. I don’t mean to scare you – but also, I do mean to scare you. J When I first became a Christian 5 years ago, I instantly understood God’s love and grace and goodness. And I honestly thought for a short while that the world was just so good, and that there wasn’t really any evil in the world. There were just humans that made bad decisions…. Well… fortunately I shared this viewpoint with a wise Christian friend of mine. He prescribed that I read 2 books – 1. This Present Darkness by Frank Peretti and 2. The Screwtape Letters by C.S. Lewis. My friend also told me this – “Mike, the devil’s greatest trick is making you think that he does not exist. If you don’t believe he exists, then you won’t even realize it when he’s tempting you.” Wow. So true. If you are like me, where I was a few years ago, and you are not so sure that there is an actual presence of evil in our world – an evil that pursues people’s hearts – then I prescribe these 2 books above to you as well. Now – the good news – Jesus is still the answer to expelling demons and evil and sin away from us today! Jesus is Risen and is so infinitely more powerful than any of the evil that is out there. So – more important than reading those 2 books above, my prescription to you really is to stay as close to Jesus, God and the Holy Spirit as you possibly can in this life. And you will have no need to fear evil. Stick with Jesus.
Okay, I’ve typed a lot here without a question…. Here it is. Do you believe in the existence of evil in our world today? Do you believe that Satan exists? Do you believe that demons exist? Do you know the one true Remedy and Salvation and Protection from all evil? Will you run into Jesus’ arms for this safety forever? And my last piece of very serious advice… if you are struggling with a sin that you know is putting you in contact with evil – you must must must leave that sin behind. I know that all sin is risky and dangerous and dumb, but I think you also will know if you are really flirting with a sin that is leading you down a very dark path. Please confess that sin to Jesus and God and repent. Seek counseling and professional help immediately if it a serious sin or addiction. God will give you victory. Yes, it may be a long and painful process of getting free from the addiction, but you must take this journey to freedom. The freedom will justify the pain it takes to get you there. Paul tells us to flee from sin. Flee from evil. Will you flee? Please flee.
Psalms - Psalm 70 verse 4 is awesome - "But may all who search for you be filled with joy and gladness.
May those who love your salvation repeatedly shout, "God is great!"" Indeed, I think as Christians we should be filled with joy & gladness. Yes, there will be tough times. And suffering. But overall, I pray we are filled with joy and gladness. And then the second sentence in this verse reminds me of an older Relient K song (yeah, my current favorite band - edging out U2 for now...) with lyrics that go something like this - "Your voice has broken my defense. Let me embrace salvation!" I like that thought. Let us embrace salvation. Let us love salvation.
What verses or insights jumped out for you in today's readings? Please post up in the Comments section below!